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Ethiopian Delegation Visits China to Share InterCountry Adoptions

By Meron Tekleberhan


Intercountry adoption - Ethiopian delegation to ChinaAddis Ababa, April 15, 2012 ( - In the past couple of years Ethiopia has been exerting a range of efforts to ensure that adoption of Ethiopian children is conducted in a legal and well documented manner. Intercountry adoption in particular has received considerable attention from the Ethiopian government with the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs, enforcing a new directive that took effect in the past year.


This Ministry took the initiative to reduce the numbers of children being adopted internationally by as much as 90% to weed alleged abuses in the procedures of some adoption agencies and orphans. Allegedly children with living parents have been fraudulently put up for adoption by unscrupulous operators. Such illegality and worse incidences of human trafficking have beset inter country adoption in Asia and other African countries.


While this move was received with mixed feelings from various corners the need to establish legislation and enforcement mechanisms to govern the legal flow of inter country adoption is an inarguable necessity for both the children up adoption and prospective adoptive parents.


With this end in mind an Ethiopian government delegation committed to experience sharing visited the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption. The delegation made up of senior government representatives including Almaw Mengist Ambaye, State Minister of Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MWCYA), Marshet Weldeyohannes Anjulo, Director of MWCYA in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region, Yayesh Tesfahuney Kiflai, Director of Child Right Promotion and Protection Directorate of MWCYA and led by Desalegn Berhe Bayru the President of the Federal First Instance Court was hosted by Zhang Shifeng director-general of the CCCWA.


The Ethiopian delegation made the visit to learn from the signifcant experience of their Chinese counterparts in facilitating and regulating intercountry adoption.


The delegation was welcomed warmly by Director General Zhang Shifeng to visit and study in China. Shifeng introduced China’s inter-country adoption regulatory mechanism by dividing it into its eight constituent parts. The eight parts consist of the origin of inter-country adoption, legal system, managing mechanism, general procedure, type of adoptee, content extension for inter-country adoption, strong technical support and CCCWA's functions.


The Director also expressed his hope that China and Ethiopia will strengthen their communication to work together to support children come home through intercountry adoption. The Ethiopian delegation’s visit of the various concerned departments of the CCCWA was accompanied by the Deputy Director of the organization Chu Xiaoying.


Questions posed by the delegation were answered by Xiaoying in the afternoon. The Ethiopian team received detailed responses to questions it raised in regards to laws related to inter-country adoption, working procedures, regulations and policies, aspects of implementing the Hague convention, comparisons between adoption with intercountry adoption, adoptees’, the role of adoption agencies and post-placement services as well as the ever important questions related to rights and interests of protection.


The Ethiopian delegation was given an opportunity to visit the Tianjin Children’s Welfare Institution and conduct first hand investigation and study under the guidance of the Director of the institution Mr. Zhang Min.


The delegation was able to visit the children residing in the institution and to learn from the experiences there. The delegation expressed its appreciation the institution’s infrastructure, the level of care being offered, the quality of medical rehabilitation equipment and of the medical personnel. 


The visit made by the delegation from Ethiopia has offered an opportunity to deepen understanding of the established intercountry adoption practices in place in China and opened a means of communication and connection between the two countries on the issue it was said.


In the absence of a strong tradition of domestic adoption and with community care still in the nascent stage inter country adoption remains an important factor and that requires all due diligence and attention. An opportunity to learn from the experience of a country like China, which has had its share, good and bad, of experiences in relation to inter country adoption can offer elements to enhance the mechanisms that regulate and facilitate inter country adoption as one option of addressing the orphan crisis in Ethiopia.

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